LONDON: Independent agency M&C Saatchi has launched a digital shop in China and has already picked up business from food conglomerate Uni-President, search engine Baidu and Mercedes-Benz. The new outpost, M&C Saatchi-i, is headed by He Chang who previously worked at and

At the same time, the agency is adding an office in Beijing to its main base in Shanghai.

M&C Saatchi Worldwide chief executive Moray McLennan says: “China is going to be a major part of our strategy as a global network. There are two dimensions, the domestic market and exporting Chinese brands to the world.”

McLennan also says that digital is a high priority because the Chinese internet population is now more than 300m. This makes it a crucial factor in the agency's focus on winning local Chinese business rather than concentrating on servicing Western brands.

China's internet advertising market is still growing strongly with revenues totaling more than Rmb 3bn (US $440m; €330m) in the first quarter of 2009, up nearly 6% on the previous quarter.

This is a slower rate of growth than 2008 as a whole, but analysts expect the rate to increase once more as the Chinese economy picks up speed through the rest of this year.

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph, Brand Republic Asia; additional content by WARC staff